Monday, October 08, 2007

RFID Security Memory Cells

Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have invented a cheap and efficient means to secure for radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags. The innovation uses variations in the RFID tag memory cells to secure information. ...

... "RFID tags are already used in countless identification and tracking methods, such as passports and inventory control. A common use of these devices is in access control systems, such as corporate or government ID cards, that allow access to buildings and rooms through a tiny radio frequency transmitter. Embedded in these tags are passive systems that respond automatically to electromagnetic fields produced by radio antennas trying to read the tags' memory. This technology, while convenient, can be susceptible to breaches in security; for example, credit cards that use RFID technology are vulnerable to thieves who, with the appropriate equipment, can read information from the card without the victim ever taking it out of a pocket. The team's new security method uses the concept of random numbers, which are used to encrypt data sent by the tags so that each message transmitted is unique. Machines with the right hardware and software, such as your desktop computer, can easily produce a string of random numbers; however, the tiny circuitry of a matchbook-sized RFID tag isn't built for that function. The UMass Amherst researchers' work eliminates the need for specific machinery dedicated to the task. Using specialized software, the tag readers will be able to extract unique data from the tags’ existing hardware. " ...


Via University Massachusets at Amherst: Researchers Improve Security for Credit Cards and Other Devices

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